Another day in Okene community and rain has not still kissed the soil. Agnes would have committed an abomination by stepping out of her compound with a hoe in her basin but thanks to Chi who made man and woman a pair in togetherness. Her husband’s voice came from behind to remind her of the significance of that day. It was Eke day. To Okene people, farming is sweetest when you are almost done with planting seeds before the heavy rain starts thronging the earth but no matter how sweet, every one rests on Eke day. Agnes thanked her husband while he smiled at her forgetfulness which was skulked by eagerness. She wondered why the day looked lost to her, something might be coming.
Some minutes later, a girl had come from the Anglican Church to report that Sabina was missing from the gathering of the young girls in church. Agnes screamed and slumped, heaving her shoulders in frustration.
“I complained of this five-day church program but you let her go when you know what kind of daughter you gave me Agnes” Ikeh’s voice roared.
“What kind of daughter do you think Sabina is? She is a human being and must partake in what others are doing. Hei! Sabina has done a new bad thing.”
“But she didn’t also agree to go; now look, she has strayed again.”
“Ikeh stop adding problems to this. Let us go and find out how she left.” She suggested.
“Find out from Otakah our great dibia you mean?”
“Taaah! Holy ghost fire! I am born again.” Agnes rebuffed her heathen husband.
“Iiyaah! Born into Mary and born against satan.” Ikeh mocked.
Agnes stood up and adjusted her lappa, “Let us go to the church and find out there and ask questions to know how she left before you joke expensively.”
“Nnamdi! Nnamdi!” Agnes called her only son. She had just returned from making enquiries with her husband and their calves grooved in pain. They eased themselves to two wooden chairs in the verandah while calling on their son. Nnamdi reported with endless questions. “Eeh! Mama! Papa! Mama where is Sabina? Have they told you anything? Is Sabina not really in church or they said she went to buy something?”
Agnes ridiculously gazed at him and replied, “Mama Chukwe was the only who saw her. She said she saw her entering the car of a man in the night. A young man. Okechukwu, Nwoke Onoye’s son who lives in township.”
Sabina’s parents could not express their anger further; they were graciously tired of their last daughter whose adolescence madness lingered till the age of 22.
Nnamdi raised his head to recall, “My friend said he has seen her once with Okechukwu but I did not know it will get to the extent of running away with him Mama.”
“Iiyaah! Sabina is often full of surprises. She is just like her mother.” Ikeh threw in.
“No. She is a reincarnation of you Ikeh even if you are still alive. You have forgotten that you have a special dance step that you do once you see a young woman. You Ikeh. I only married you because I know my large waist will keep you busy for a while. You were almost a he-goat!”
Ikeh looked away in defeat but scared Nnamdi who was laughing at him away with his walking stick, “Go and prepare water for me to have my bath Nnamdi, are you still here listening to your mother’s bullet mouth? Idiot.”
“It is true. Go and fetch water from the well for your father let me go….”
“Go where again Agnes? Are you not tired of this calamity already?” Ikeh asked her eagerly?
“Ikehnna Nwanjoku, I know that you love your wife Agnes but you should love your daughter more. My daughter is not related to any calamity, stop it! I am going to Onoye’s compound. Stay well,”
Ikeh’s gaze lingered on his departing wife’s embodiment; he still wondered how women carry all that flesh about.
Agnes approached Nwoke Onoye’s compound with a waning strength yet she put on a very chaotic air immediately she stepped into the compound. She appeared ebullient and intrepid.
“Who is in this compound? Onoye, Beatrice, Beatrice o. Who is here?” She was clapping her hands and shouting too loud at once that Beatrice rushed out with just a wrapper around her body. Her son joined her too to find out what prompted a mid-noon visit.
“Beatrice where is your son Okechukwu? Is he inside now? My blood is boiling like water meant for a slaughtered fowl” Agnes barked.
“My son Okechukwu. For what? He left for township last night ehe?”
Agnes nodded restlessly, “So your son left last night and he decided to kidnap my daughter Sabina.”
“Agnes watch what you are saying, my son is a good person. How can he kidnap your daughter for what and is your daughter a child?” Beatrice retorted adjusting the wrapper around her mammary glands. Agnes took a fat offense and captured her wrapper.
“If Okechukwu is a good person why must he take my daughter away at night? People saw him o. people saw him. Give me his address right now before I push you down you know me very well Beatrice.”
“Agnes do not try anything. You are in my compound. I trained my son well he cannot do that.” Beatrice struggled with her while her son paced in confusion.
“So if he did not go with my daughter, where is she? Where is Sabina eh? Mama kidnapper. Give me his address now before I do the worst.”
Agnes jerked Beatrice harder even though her son intervened.
“His address is number 21 Ejekwu lane, Eagle Estate.” Beatrice’s son shouted out of fear. His mother was already coughing profusely. She suffered osteoporosis.
“I will write it down Mama Sabi. Leave my mother alone you know that she is not well.”
Sabina did not step out of the car till Okechukwu went out and ran to open the door for her. Her skirt was very skimpy that it gave Okechukwu a glimpse of her ochre panty. They were excited, a happiness ignited by wine. Agnes saw that they were young, explicit, oblivious and hopeless in a world also full of alcohol. She dashed in through the gate and hijacked Sabina’s skirt. The couple remained electrified for a whole minute.
“Okechukwu, you this small boy. I warn you! Let this be the first and last time you will try this. Taking my daughter without my consent since yesterday, are you mad? Okechukwu are you a bastard? Did Beatrice give birth to you at all? Are you a goat? If you are not a goat then you must a fool. Lama, owu Hausa, Hausa goat that is what you are.”
Sabina was trying to draw her skirt down; it was almost escaping her buttocks as her mother held it while lavishing terror on them.
“Stop dragging the skirt with me you this stupid girl. To run after a man and leave the church will it make you more beautiful? Of course it won’t and it won’t also make you less beautiful, it will make you less of my daughter.”
She began to slap her while Sabina writhe and turn in pain and defense. The gate boy was very bemused.
“Mama please, please we are very sorry, please stop beating her like that, she is my baby” Okechukwu pleaded.
“Yes yes please baby, tell her. Mama please let us settle this. Oh please my skirt, baby please talk to her.”
Okechukwu went closer to rescue Sabina, Agnes retaliated with a very harmful slap that made him gnash in pain for a while. Sabina was infuriated, she thought her lover lost a tooth so she screamed, “Mama leave me alone!” Agnes left her but also dashed her face with vigor; her weave-on fell off her head.
“Mama please, I am very sorry, let us go inside first so that you can eat something. You came to visit us, allow us to welcome you properly.” Okechukwu pleaded again in bended knee.
“Visit us? Who is “us” Okechukwu? Visit you for what? I did not come here to visit you. I came to take back my daughter. Whenever you marry my daughter, I can now come to visit “us” stupid boy. If you are not a small boy, prove yourself a man and come and get my daughter from me at home.”
She tossed Sabina along. They were leaving. Okechukwu was debased.
“Come my daughter. Let’s go. It is now that you will know if he needs you or not, use this incident to have a little sense eh? If you are his baby, then he should come and fetch you from home not from the church at night. You are not a goat for him to have stolen you at night.”
Agnes started hitting Sabina again as they arrived home. Nnamdi and Ikeh ran out to welcome Agnes but to annihilate Sabina. Sabina, the wanton. Few neigbours ran in.
“Ikeh look at your daughter. Look at Sabina. Stupid girl. She wanted to do me American style, run away with a man and come back later to give me smiles and stories. That is shame not victory. Lekiri a- look at her”
Ikeh immediately started welting her body with his walking stick. Sabina wailed and rubbed herself. “You this little rat, so you don’t want me to drink on your head. You do not want to school then marry at once. So you cannot on your own emulate your only sister who is now happily married? You want to ruin your life. Eh? Then you are a wicked soul and you must perish today.”
Sabina’s scattered body happened to have healed quickly before Okechukwu and his people arrived to marry her in as a wife.